When I was an ambassador for University one hot summer similar to the melting heat in the UK at the moment I was tasked with taking down the graduate shows of the students that proudly presented their creative work to their family, friends and fellow students. I spent a few weeks dismantling the makeshift wooden stages, pulling out nails and painting over the brightly coloured stripes and symbols that students designed to present their work in theme with their creations.
One task that I had to do was take large painted canvases that students had painted on and throw them into the skip near the smokers shed where I spent many lunch breaks laughing and smoking my lungs out with my friends and classmates. It always saddened me to know that some students would rather dump their work no matter how large the canvas was, so instead of giving them the heave-ho into the trash I told my thrifty friends of the free large canvases that they happily decided to take back to their uni homes and upcycle to their hearts contents, painting and drawing what they please.
I kept the largest canvas for myself, Dripping in sweat carrying this beast down the iconic Rochester hill and ended up sandwiching it into my tiny uni bedroom. I never did anything with the canvas for years – it has since followed me along with two house moves. I have had ideas, I cut out all the silhouettes I kept from life drawing classes and thought about doing a collage of all of them together on the large canvas, but never did but I always knew I would when the time was right.
I have always loved Rutenberg’s kaleidoscope of colours, with the blocks of different variants of hues having such an immense power of depth to them. I thought it would be the perfect chance to finally let loose upon this canvas and use the many tubes of paint that I have stashed from many Christmases gifts that otherwise have been left to gather dust. I couldn’t think of any better way to spend a hot day – sitting outside in the heat with a cold beer or two and painting away in the garden. It was a therapeutic experience to say the least. I think I may have to figure out how to make my own canvases.